Some investors do not realize it is legal to purchase non-traditional assets using an IRA. In 1974, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act passed the responsibility of retirement savings from the employer to the employee. The next year, IRAs were created. Self-Directed Individual Retirement Accounts provide investors the ability to direct where retirement funds are invested.
Under both ERISA and IRS Codes, only two types of investments are excluded. These are life insurance contracts and collectibles. Collectibles include works of art, jewelry, rugs, etc. Aside from these exclusions, retirement investment opportunities have a wide range. This allows all investors to find something that works for them.
Investors may not have known about Self-Directed IRAs because the retirement industry has long been dominated by custodians focused on a very narrow selection of investments such as stocks, CD’s, and mutual funds. Mountain West IRA, on the other hand, believes in offering investors the freedom to choose with self-directed retirement accounts.
With a Self-Directed Retirement Account through Mountain West IRA, investors can choose from the following non-traditional assets:
- Real estate
- Single family and multi-unit homes
- Apartment buildings
- Cash flow properties
- Tax deeds/liens
- Improved or unimproved raw land
- Notes and Mortgages
- Unsecured notes
- Secured notes
- Precious Metals
- Private Placements
- Partnerships and Joint Ventures
- Privately held stock
Even this lengthy list of options is not all inclusive. Many investors find other creative investment opportunities or choose to utilize multiple investment vehicles including traditional assets like stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. Visit Mountain West IRA’s website to learn more about self-direction and the non-traditional investments available to investors.
When estimating how much money is needed for retirement, workers must keep in mind the rising costs of healthcare. In a recent study, it was found that retiree health care costs amount to 13 percent of annual spending for people 65 and older.
While it is usually recommended that retirees have enough saved up to replace 80 percent of their pre-retirement income, this may not be enough to cover health care costs these days. Household expenses in retirement are assumed to rise with overall inflation, which is about 2.5 to 3 percent per year. However, healthcare costs are assumed to rise about six percent in the next 10 years. This makes health care more of a concern when looking at finances.
Another cost factor is the increase in average life expectancy. People are living longer, thanks to health care becoming more advanced. While this is a great thing, it means retirees will likely end up spending even more out-of-pocket for health care. A 55-year-old male with an average life expectancy of 86 who ends up living to 88 will end up being responsible for almost an additional $70,000 in health care costs not included in retirement savings projections.
One way to combat the rising health care costs, is to open a Health Savings Account with Mountain West IRA. Contributions to an HSA are 100 percent deductible, just like with a Traditional IRA. It combines high deductible health insurance with a tax-favored savings account. The distributions used to pay qualified medical expenses can be taken out at any time.
- Covered by qualified high deductible health insurance plan
- Not covered by other health insurance
- Not enrolled in Medicare
- Not another person’s dependent
For those eligible and wanting to maximize their retirement savings, contact Mountain West IRA. Opening an HSA could help retirees pay less out-of-pocket for health care. Nobody can predict exactly how much they will need for health care expenses but it is better to have extra money available to cover these and other costs.
Even in a sluggish economy, bed-and-breakfasts are a popular choice for tourists seeking lodging off the beaten path. They offer guests the opportunity to socialize with other travelers in a more intimate setting. Many countries offer a variation of the bed-and-breakfast, but most are small lodging establishments with fewer than 10 bedrooms available to rent out. For retirees who love to provide hospitality, they also offer post-retirement job opportunities. And with their rebounding popularity, bed-and-breakfasts may also be an excellent investment opportunity for your self-directed IRA.
While it generally requires significant legal guidance to invest your self-directed IRA in a business you’re personally going to run, investors who want to avoid self-dealing can do so by investing in a business owned by someone else; perhaps a trusted colleague with great business sense. This helps you avoid prohibited transactions.
If you are interested in building your retirement portfolio, think about investing your self-directed IRA in nontraditional assets, whether it’s a bed-and-breakfast or another investment you’re interested in. We won’t tell you what to invest in—the beauty of self-directed IRAs is the freedom they offer you as the investor. Give us a call so we can help you get started with investing today. Now’s the time!
Retirement is looming ever closer, but is there any good way to prepare for it? After all, you’ve probably never retired before. To take some of the uncertainty out of retirement, here are 5 steps to test drive retirement before it actually arrives:
- Plan ahead—well in advance of your retirement, make a comprehensive plan that includes your budget, investments, Social Security, health care costs, provisions for common elderly concerns, and a generous rainy day fund for unforeseen events. Also, it’s not too late to start self-directing your IRA to increase your wealth.
- Get your spouse involved—these can be hard conversations, but you’ll need to discuss survivor benefits, your spouse’s intended activities, whether or not he or she will be retired, and future living arrangements.
- Take care of legal concerns—you may need to consult a lawyer or professional planner regarding items like power of attorney, wills, debts, healthcare documentation, and asset titles.
- Live on your retirement budget—to ensure you’ll have a livable retirement income, try living on your retirement budget without any exceptions for a year before you retire.
- Don’t let the cat out of the bag—don’t tell your coworkers or boss that you plan on retiring until a month before the planned date. That prevents the possibility of your boss withholding certain privileges with the knowledge you’re retiring.
- They’re difficult to set up—while it might be difficult to navigate the process entirely on your own, setting up a self-directed IRA with Mountain West IRA is simple. When you open your account with us, our step-by-step process provides you with a blueprint to open, fund, and complete self-directed IRA investment transactions quickly, safely, and accurately.
2. There are plenty of investment choices within a standard IRA—unless you’re content to stick with stocks and bonds, a standard IRA just isn’t going to cut it. Traditional approaches to retirement investing lead many otherwise savvy investors to overlook one of the most lucrative wealth-building strategies available. With the great tax advantages provided by a self-directed IRA or 401(k), as well as the wider range of possible investments, you can potentially build wealth and secure your future much more effectively than you can through traditional plans.
3. My (CPA/attorney/broker/friend/other person) said that buying and selling real estate in my self-directed retirement plan was illegal—this has been a long-lived myth. Neither the IRS nor the Department of Labor has ever published a list of legal investments. However, there is a list of Prohibited Transactions and Disqualified Persons that deal with what is not permitted. Real estate and other investments are permitted provided you follow the rules.
4. Signing up for a self-directed IRA with a firm means that they can do whatever they want with my money—as a custodian, we don’t handle your money. Rather, we show you how to take advantage of self-directed retirement plans. All the funds not invested are held for your benefit in our 100% FDIC-insured custodial bank account at Sterling Bank.
5. Many people I’ve spoken to have never heard of a self-directed IRA and have told me it’s probably a scam—it’s a common misconception that the only investments allowed in a retirement account are stocks, CD’s, and mutual funds. The truth is that broader investment options have been available to the public since the inception of the IRA in 1975
The self-directed IRA industry is growing very strong with trillions of dollars invested in IRAs containing non-traditional assets. There are over 50 million retirement account holders, and less than 4% of those are held in non-traditional assets. This number is expected to grow significantly over the next five years as more individuals and their financial advisors attain a greater awareness of self-directed IRAs.
Though we live in an increasingly mobile society, many Americans still haven’t adopted the desire to downsize their possessions to fit this transient lifestyle. That means storage space is at a premium, which opens up a potential investment opportunity for the savvy investor: storage units. Self-storage offers many of the same attractive investment qualities that rentals, office buildings, and other properties offer, including passive income, tax advantages, and appreciation. Investment in self-storage is also made more attractive for many reasons that include:
- Many retirees downsize their homes during retirement but aren’t yet willing to part with a lifetime of possessions. Instead, they seek out additional storage space that their smaller homes can’t offer.
- Some neighborhood housing associations and new housing communities do not allow storage of vehicles like boats, RVs, or even multiple cars on the street outside homes.
- College students use storage space during summer vacation
- Businesses that have downsized and are working out of smaller office space require additional storage space.
Small distributors, start-ups without office space, or home-based businesses use storage space from which to operate their business because operating and development costs of storage units are much more affordable than apartment or retail space. These lower costs also make break-even occupancy ranges lower than other real estate investments. Also, if a storage unit operates on a month-to-month lease, investors can adjust rental rates to compensate for demand. To add further stability to the investment, demand for self-storage is not dependent on the economy. When the economy is booming, people tend to buy more things and thus need more storage. When the economy is slow, people downsize and seek cheaper storage alternatives for the belongings they’re not ready to get rid of.
Self-storage has the lowest default rate of all property types, but like any investment, investors must take time and due diligence to make sure that the storage unit is worth the investment. Well-run, modern self-storage in a good location is desirable to investors and provides a very liquid investment, while old industrial storage units without surveillance don’t command as much demand. As it continues to rise in popularity, self-storage could provide a tangible investment opportunity for you to invest your self-directed IRA in. This is just one of many investment possibilities. That’s the beauty of a self-directed IRA. Since you self-direct your own IRA, you’re responsible for your own investments. We can’t tell you what to invest in or where to find available storage facilities. Self-direction is your choice, but we’re here to show you how to take advantage of self-directed retirement plans. Contact Mountain West to start investing with your self-directed IRA.
Over time, real estate investments have afforded many people the powerful combination of appreciation and income. The purchase of real estate through a self-directed IRA is a popular choice for this and other reasons. Concerned you don’t have enough funds in your IRA for the entire purchase? If your self-directed IRA doesn’t have enough money to pay for the entire purchase on its own, you may be able to finance or leverage the purchase of the income producing property. Keep in mind, if you don’t have enough money in your retirement account to purchase the real estate, the IRS forbids you from extending credit to your own IRA account. So, what are your options?
Real estate investment accounts can use borrowed money as long as the account holder’s credit history, income, or assets are not used to guarantee loan repayment to the creditor. In other words, there can be no personal guarantee given by you as the account holder and consequently, there can be no personal recourse against you since the property and the loan are held within the retirement plan. The loan your IRA would need to acquire is normally known as a non-recourse loan. Be aware that loans for property inside of IRAs may require the payment of Unrelated Business Income Tax (UBIT). It is the IRA holder’s responsibility to have the tax form (990T) prepared by a tax advisor and have the IRA administrator submit the appropriate forms for the property owned by the IRA. The staff at Mountain West IRA can maintain the appropriate records for your self-directed IRA real estate investment. Our goal is to assist you with your alternative asset purchases while paying little or no taxes. Contact Mountain West IRA for additional information.
3 Benefits of Leveraging Your Self-Directed IRA:
- Tax considerations—one of the great benefits of an IRA is tax-deferral. As an investor, you’re able to put more money into investing than you would with a taxable account. When your investment generates income that exceeds expenses, you will be subject to the UBIT. However, the taxes you pay when computing UBIT can be significantly lower than traditional income taxes.
- Benefit from growth—leverage allows an investor to purchase a larger, more valuable asset and profit from its growth, with only a smaller out-of-pocket expense.
- Diversification—instead of investing your entire self-directed IRA balance on one property, you can split the balance among several properties as a down payment and use leverage to finance the rest. By diversifying your investment portfolio, you generate revenue on several properties and minimize your financial risk.
Using a non-recourse loan in conjunction with your Mountain West self-directed IRA is a powerful tool to build your wealth. However, it’s one that needs to be carefully managed. For over six years, Mountain West IRA has been showing individuals and small businesses how to take advantage of self-directed retirement plans as one of the nation’s leading independent self-directed IRA and 401(k) administration companies. With a knowledgeable staff and our clients’ best interests in mind, we offer the outstanding customer service that only an independently owned and operated administrator can. If you’re ready to start your own self-directed IRA, contact Mountain West IRA today.
Mountain West will be hosting a workshop on “How to Buy Real Estate and Alternative Assets in IRAs and Qualified Plans” Tuesday, November 19.
CEO Jon Galane will be providing valuable CE credit covering the following topics:
- Buying real estate in IRAs and Qualified Plans
- Prohibited Transactions by Disqualified Persons
- Regulations regarding self-directed IRAs
- How to leverage IRAs and the benefits that can provide
$25 covers cost of lunch and all materials.
This class is good for 8 hours of continuing education credit through the Idaho Real Estate Commission.
Register here >>
Tuesday, November 19
10096 W. Fairview Ave.
Boise, ID 83704
9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Many people dream of starting small businesses or starting a new venture but fear using traditional small business financing or taking out loans with high interest rates. However, prospective entrepreneurs and business owners don’t often realize that existing retirement funds can be used to fund start-up businesses. If you’re confident the business has the potential to be a success over the long run, investing your retirement funds can be a very savvy financial decision. By rolling your existing retirement savings into a Mountain West self-directed IRA, you can now invest in a business or start-up without tax penalties. There are IRS restrictions, but you should certainly consider using this smart and viable financing option.
Investing your self-directed IRA in a start-up or small business allows you to affect the value of both your small business and retirement account. You have the ability to lower the overhead of your start-up while accelerating the growth of your IRA. In addition, the following benefits make investing in a start-up a win-win situation:
- Use funds from your self-directed IRA without early distribution taxes or penalties
- Start your small business without incurring as much debt while gaining substantial tax benefits
- Invest up to 100% of your self-directed IRA or use a percentage
- Combine your self-directed IRA funds with those of your spouse or business partner
- Net substantial savings on interest fees and protect your credit
- Roll profits you gained back into your business or retirement plan
- Put yourself in the fast lane for financial success
To learn how you can invest your self-directed IRA in a start-up or small business, contact Mountain West IRA. Now’s the time to enjoy the substantial savings that come along with the tax and credit advantages of a self-directed IRA.
Jon Galane will be traveling throughout Florida from October 14-November 15, 2013, visiting realtor organizations and meeting with clients. If you would like to schedule an appointment with Jon to set up your self-directed IRA or obtain more information about the benefits of having a self-directed IRA, contact the Mountain West IRA office by phone at 208-377-3311 or email.